Jul
19

Victoria

We currently have two guitars from the Manuel Contreras shop that happen to span 48 years of Contreras guitar making – a perfect 1968 Manuel Contreras peghead flamenco blanca and a brand-new 2016 Manuel Contreras II “10th Anniversary Premium Series” – and this got us thinking that one of the constants in the Contreras shop for over 25 years now has been Victoria Velasco. If you visited the Contreras shop in Madrid while Manuel Sr. or Pablo Contreras were alive chances are you’ve met Victoria.

I met Victoria in 1989 when I first went I first visited the shop (of course I didn’t know she had just started working there) earlier that year. Often as not Manuel or Pablo were in the back making guitars and Victoria was the one who would patiently show you guitars and tell you whatever you needed to know about the guitars or what was happening in the Madrid guitar scene.

In 1989 Victoria had finished her advanced guitar studies at the Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid (RCSMM), as well as her language studies – English, French and German at the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas in Madrid – and was earning a living as a music teacher when she heard about a job opening at Contreras. They were looking for someone who played guitar and spoke English to help run the shop. Contreras father and son were working on the new double-top system and wanted someone who could help them test and play the guitars as well. They all hit it off right away and Victoria has been the face of Contreras ever since.

In 2011, with the sudden passing of Manuel Contreras II (known to everyone as Pablo) the family agreed that the only person who could keep the shop running was Victoria, and while they have had to shut the shop at Calle Mayor, they have a beautiful new shop on Calle Segovia where you will still find Victoria and the great guitars designed by Manuel Sr. and Pablo.

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4 Responses to “Victoria Velasco – Contreras Guitars”

 
  1. Andre says:

    I met Victoria at the Calle Mayor shop back in 2007. Very gentle person! Remember her very well. She even played for me to demonstrate a few guitars! All the best to her.

  2. Ferran says:

    A very wonderfuland kind lady!

  3. John Harris says:

    I own a 1983 Contreras “Double top”, but it needs a stupendous amount of work. The top

    has a hole caused by like 10 minutes worth of a drunken idiot with a pick hammering on it when I

    was not in attendance. I also have a heavy hand and have injured the fretboard to where there

    are such deep grooves in the ebony that it needs a whole new replacement (my bad). I did love

    this guitar, but I wonder if there is any point in repairing it? I probably would only trust

    the sons to repair the father’s work. Any ideas?

  4. Irene says:

    Good to see this article as Contreras have made the most balanced and beautifully crafted guitars becoming a tradition and a must visit place for guitar seekers in Madrid.
    I myself have been playing on this guitar more than 20 years since I bought one it in Calle Mayor. I was lucky to meet maestro Manuel Contreras who was introduced to me by my friend Miguel Angel Girollet who also had a Contreras at the time.
    And I was very happy to finally meet Victoria 2 years ago, coming back to Madrid after so many years.
    thank you for posting this article related to such great guitar creators and wonderful people.

 

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